It’s time for dentists in 2023 to step up their social media game and start building a digital presence! Learn about how to grow your practice and engage with patients online from social media marketer and RDH, Amber Auger.
In an age where professional success warrants a positive digital presence, dentists find themselves facing a unique challenge: mastering social media. Dentists can decide whether to embrace the challenge of social media management themselves, delegate management to an in-house team member, or entrust the task to an external expert. No matter what they decide, they’ll need a solid strategy that will help foster patient trust and grow their practice.
Social media has transformed the way people do business. Consumers – and patients – don’t like to feel like they’re being marketed to by companies. They would much rather connect with real people. In fact, when customers have a personal connection with a brand, 57% will spend more money on that brand and 76% will choose them over a competitor. That’s why creating a strong social media presence is essential for business owners. Yes, that includes dentists!
With the help of social media, dentists can now increase their visibility, showcase their expertise, and build trust with their patients. Building a social brand is a great way for dentists to engage with their community while also promoting their dental services.
In this interview, RDH and social media marketer for dental professionals, Amber Auger, explains what a social brand is, why it’s important, and how dentists can grow their businesses by cultivating their social media presence.
Amber Auger, MPH, RDH is an accomplished dental professional and preventative dental therapy advocate. She is a sought-out international speaker, podcast host, dental marketing strategist, published author for several industry-leading publications, and the recipient of the 2019 Sunstar/RDH Award of Distinction. Amber is also the founder of Thrive in the OP and the Functional RDH.
This is the fourth blog post of a 6-part series where Amber will share helpful insights from a distinct viewpoint on how dentists can enhance their business success.
Navigating Social Media for Dentists
Q: What exactly is a social brand?
A social brand is an extension of your personal brand. It’s really that simple. It’s a way of marketing through an educational platform where you can share what you’re passionate about.
Q: Why do dentists need a social brand?
It’s the same premise as, “If I can’t find you, I can’t hire you.” If patients can’t find you online, then they can’t choose your practice. That’s why a social brand is necessary.
Q: What steps should dentists take if they want to create or grow their social brand?
Start with choosing one platform to maximize (I’ve personally chosen Instagram as my main platform). Then, create a frequency that feels manageable for you. If posting every single day feels like too much of a chore, then just start by posting once or twice a week.
There are so many amazing social media classes you can take online if you want to learn how to build your brand. Or as a dentist, you could also task a team member with running your social media accounts. Dentists are often overwhelmed with the daily responsibilities of running a practice, which I completely understand. But there might be a team member who would be really excited to take on that task outside of or even within their normal hours! They might be able to set aside six to eight hours a week to help with content development and social media management.
Q: In your experience, what are some effective strategies that dentists can use on social media to stand out from competitors?
The most important strategy is to be yourself. So if you’re really passionate about science and education, that’s what you should focus on. There’s a doctor named Dr. Humie who is a dentist, filmmaker, and musician. He makes hilarious videos that take a lot of time to curate and share, but that’s what’s fun for him. It’s all about figuring out what makes you unique.
There are so many different social media approaches that you can take. For instance, the content that performs well on my social media platforms tends to be humor reels. A funny video I posted last week exaggerating the reality of being a seasoned dental hygienist got 60,000 views and gained me an additional 1,000 followers. What works best for me is posting humorous content two times a week and educational content in between those days. I’ve built my brand as a funny dental hygienist who also adds value to dental practices. In essence, I’m demonstrating why dentists should hire me and how I can help enhance their patient education.
You should do an audit about every 30 days, analyzing what worked well and what didn’t. I’ve discovered that the best content I’ve put out is a response to these questions: What did I need 5 years ago? Or, What did I need 10 years ago as a new grad, and how do I build content for that?
You just have to figure out who your target audience is. Once you decide on your target audience, the easiest way to start growing your social media accounts is with humor. You could make funny videos highlighting real situations that occur with your team. It could be as simple as making a silly video about your hygienist waiting for the dentist to do an exam. All you have to do is create a story surrounding life in your practice.
Q: How much time should be spent on building a social brand?
It depends on your overall resources and your end goal. Social media management could easily be a full-time, 40 hours/week job. But not everybody has the resources to outsource that type of work. Instead, you could create a Google Doc where your team can contribute content ideas on topics you want to educate your patients about.
You can simplify the whole process by creating an overall content map and content calendar. One of your team members can batch-create content using templates on Canva, which only takes about 15 minutes once they have the process down. Generally, you would just need to determine what days you will post and what types of content you’ll post.
Here’s an example schedule: Upload humor reels on Mondays and Fridays. Post patient reviews on Tuesdays and educational content on Wednesdays.
Q: What resources are available to dentists who don’t have the time to be active on social media?
I think the easiest way to grow your social brand is to actually slow down and do a social media audit. Trying to come up with content to fit your brand can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
One tip I’ve learned is to get inspiration from your saved posts on Instagram or whichever platform you use. Just start out by figuring out what you want your online brand to look like and how you want to bring in new clients.
No matter what you want your brand to be, it’s important to be yourself. I’ve met influencers at dental trade shows with 200,000 to 300,000 followers who are nothing like what they portray on social media. On the other hand, I’ve met influencers with a smaller following of about 50,000 who are exactly the same in real life and on social media. When you pretend to be something you’re not on social media, it drains your energy.
I always want to be 100% myself when I engage on social media, but I also control what and when I post. By choosing a rhythm that feels manageable to me, building my brand doesn’t feel like a daunting or exhausting task.
There are also certain tools available to help save you time. You can use software like Sprout to help you schedule and automate content. You can also use products like Canva that are user-friendly and have customizable templates. Once you find a template you like, you can continue to reuse it so that you’re not starting from scratch each week. Instead, you have a rhythm that is set up for your success.
Q: What are the associated costs, if any?
You might have software subscription costs depending on what programs you decide to use. If you want to delegate your social media management to another team member, you’ll need to compensate them. If you choose to use paid marketing, such as Facebook boosts, you should be prepared to budget for that as well.
Q: What are the best social media platforms for dentists?
It depends on what type of content you put out and what feels best to you. If you want to post educational content, you might want to create a YouTube channel. If you want to target a younger audience and focus on trendy and quick patient reviews, you might want to be on TikTok. If you want to highlight your business while also mixing in humor and education, Instagram would probably be the best platform. Pinterest would be ideal if you want to concentrate on blogging. You decide what type of content you enjoy creating and who your target audience is.
Q: How important is it for dentists to maintain a consistent brand image across different social media platforms, and what steps can they take to achieve this?
Maintaining a consistent brand image helps build patient trust. In order to stay consistent, it’s important to create brand pillars and guidelines that will help fine-tune the type of content you’re uploading. Once you have those guidelines in place, you can reuse most of your content. For instance, you can easily download Instagram reels that you’ve posted and share them on TikTok.
Trends always start on TikTok, and they usually show up three to four weeks later on Instagram. A great trick is to save trending videos on TikTok for inspiration and then create your own version of it on Instagram reels. Apps like CapCut and InShot make it so easy to edit. You don’t need to be a filmmaker to shoot or edit videos for social media.
Q: Can you share some pitfalls for dentists to avoid when using social media?
- Never share any confidential patient information.
- If you share information about a clinical case, the patient needs to sign a release form.
- Keep your account professional, especially when it’s linked to your business. People don’t necessarily want to see their dentist in a swimsuit drinking margaritas. Separate your personal and professional accounts.
Q: Can you give some tips on how dentists can foster patient relationships and build trust through the content they put out on social media?
The first step in building trust is to create a plan that helps ensure the type of content you’re posting remains consistent. In order to do that, you should plan macro- and micro-content. An example of macro-content would be the topic of veneers. You might create a blog or video on the five things that everyone should know about veneers. Micro-content for that topic might include posts about choosing the colors of veneers or answering detailed questions about veneers, such as how long they last.
You could create a scheduled system that will help you come up with content to upload. Here’s a sample schedule:
Monday – Create a post about veneers where you talk about what they are and how they work.
Tuesday – Post a client review of their veneers.
Wednesday – Create detailed content about veneers, such as cost or how to care for them.
Thursday – Upload a funny Instagram reel about veneers.
Friday – Introduce a new topic.
The great thing is there are so many different ways you can engage your patients. There are countless opportunities to educate your audience while also marketing your business
The Art of Being You
Building a social brand doesn’t need to be intimidating. By focusing on what makes you stand out from other dentists and coming up with a system that works well for you, you can start to engage your audience and grow your business.